UNIDO, WTO lead $12 billion initiative for West Africa’s cotton industry


UNIDO, WTO and partners ITC, Afreximbank, together with financial institutions Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) signed a joint declaration for the investment of US$12 billion in cotton in West Africa during the 9th WTO Global Review of Aid for Trade in Geneva.

The initiative is part of the Partenariat pour le Coton and focuses on the four cotton countries Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Ivory Coast.

The key objectives of the initiative include improving access to energy, enhancing skills, creating sustainable jobs, especially for women and youth, and supporting infrastructure projects to develop the cotton to textile/garment value chain in the region. The involvement of financial institutions is expected to play a crucial role in unlocking investment opportunities and facilitating trade.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala described the initiative as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for West Africa’s cotton and textile industry. She added: “I welcome Gerd Müller from UNIDO and ITC and others, because we are working to help them (Cotton Four) develop the cotton value chain in the countries.”

UNIDO Director-General Gerd Müller said: “Our shared goal is fair and sustainable local cotton processing to create decent jobs and economic growth in the region. What we need is also to work towards establishing a ‘blue button’ certification scheme to promote sustainable and fairly produced textile products around the world. We need to fundamentally rethink how our economies and our global supply chains work and create a fairer globalization that benefits everyone.”

The event included a high-level panel discussion with representatives from the private sector, development finance institutions and development partners. Participants included Chad’s Minister of Trade and Industry Guibolo Fanga Mathieu, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) President Samaila Zubairu and a presentation on the ‘Baseline Study of Cotton-to Textile/Apparel Value Chain Development in the C4 and Côte d’Ivoire’ by Gherzi Textil Organisation Switzerland CEO Navdeep Sodhi.

Indorama Ventures and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), an international financial institution, joined forces last year to establish Thailand’s first sustainability-related trade finance facility worth $50 million.

“UNIDO, WTO spearhead $12 billion West African cotton industry initiative” was originally created and published by Just Stylea brand of GlobalData.

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